Jury deliberating verdict in Ala Moana stairway stabbing - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Jury deliberating verdict in Ala Moana stairway stabbing

Jacob Le Jacob Le
Brent Keola Kanae Brent Keola Kanae
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Deputy prosecutor Kristine Yoo told jurors murder defendant Jacob Le wielded the knife that killed his close friend Brent Keola Kanae.

"He used his dominant hand to grab the knife and thrust that knife into Ola's chest," she said in closing arguments.

Yoo said Le has no alibi for a five-minute window when the 23-year-old Kanae was fatally stabbed in an Ala Moana Center stairwell last October.

"He can't tell you where he was between 3:04 and 3:09 because if he were to tell you he'd have to tell you that he was in the stairwell," she said.

But deputy public defender Lee Hayakawa said evidence points to someone else.

"The person who murdered Brent Kanae is not Jacob Le," he said.

He said Le is left-handed, but the three stab wounds in Kanae's chest show the killer was right-handed.

"The person who murdered Brent Kanae would have to be awfully strong," he said. "He'd have to be so strong and powerful he could have subdued Brent Kanae such that Brent Kanae couldn't resist at all."

Yoo argued that Le used a knife and the element of surprise.

"And the knife and the surprise explains the lack of defensive wounds, lack of screaming, lack of asking for help by Ola. Find the defendant guilty as charged," she said.

Le and Kanae danced in the same hip hop group. A witness who saw Le at Ala Moana after the stabbing also saw him dancing at Kanae's funeral. She told police.  But Hayakawa said detectives coerced a confession and ignored other leads that may have led to the real killer.

"These were precisely placed stab wounds. Each one by themselves would have been fatal," he said.

Yoo said Le, 27, was upset and obsessed with a girl he and Kanae had in common, but the state doesn't have to prove motive to prove murder.

"All that the state has to prove are the two elements, that he caused the injuries that caused the death of Brent Kanae," she said.

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